Just about every watch enthusiast out there was abuzz with excitement when the Zenith Caliber 135 Observatoire Limited Edition in collaboration with none other than Kari Voutilainen was announced earlier this year. At the time of announcement, we saw the reveal of the set of ten pieces in platinum with black-finished sterling silver dial along with the tease of an additional eleventh watch would also be auctioned by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo. Well, now we have seen that eleventh watch and it is a unique piece done with a salmon dial and a Niobium case.
Niobium is an antimagnetic alloy that is as hard as titanium and often used in movement components though rarely for construction the entirety of a case. I believe Cartier did an Astrotourbillon that utilized a Niobium-titanium case but in addition to being a rare and obscure example, it’s one I’ve never physically handled. WatchTime Editor-in-Chief Roger Ruegger has an excellent hands-on story about these Zenith x Kari Voutilainen watches (the initially announced platinum models, that is) that you can read about here if you’re unfamiliar with the whole thing. In brief, the historic Caliber 135-O was a special execution of a movement that was designed for chronometric prizes and produced between 1949 and 1962. Kari Voutilainen and his team restored and finished eleven of these calibers that have now been used in these Zenith Caliber 135 Observatoire Limited Edition watches.
Just like the platinum versions, this unique Niobium piece will be in a case measuring 38mm wide and 10.35mm thick. Finished at Voutilainen’s Comblémine atelier, the sterling silver dial is done in a salmon matte finish with that beautiful guilloché work adorning the outer circumference. This Zenith Caliber 135 Observatoire Limited Edition with Kari Voutilainen and Phillips (Ref. 13.1350.135/35.C100) will be auctioned on November 5th with all proceeds donated to the Susan G. Komen foundation for breast cancer research. I know I’ll be paying close attention to see what these fetch.